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Persian Literature: The Epic Tradition



The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (Literature)
St. George
Maria E. Subtelny

Selected representative readings from the iconic masterpieces of classical heroic and romantic epic poetry, including the Persian national epic, Shahnameh; the magisterial ode of Khaqani on the ruins of a Sasanian palace; and tales from the Khamseh, or Quintet, of Nizami about the star-crossed lovers Laili and Majnun, and the world-conqueror Iskandar, or Alexander the Great. Emphasis is on close reading and analysis of the linguistic and literary content and style of these works, and discussion of their historical and cultural backgrounds. Students will acquire essential skills in the technical requirements of classical Persian poetry, such as prosody, rhyme, and poetic devices.